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Salt in Fast Food Varies by Country, Study Says

Salt in Fast Food Varies by Country, Study Says

If you're abroad and craving a fast-food burger and fries, you may want to consider the salt factor: The crispy chicken McNugget you munch on in the U.S. isn't identical to the one you snack on in the U.K. A Canadian study shows the large discrepancies in sodium content in fast food across the globe.

The study, published in Canada and including authors from the World Action on Salt and Health, tested fast-food information from six countries, including Australia, France, and New Zealand, to determine sodium content. The range of sodium content was huge; for example, one chicken McNugget in the U.K. had about 240 milligrams of sodium, while its U.S. counterparts had 600 milligrams. (New Zealand, France, and Australia were average in sodium content.) Some foods were about the same worldwide; the average amount of salt in a fast-food burger, regardless of country, was about 520 milligrams of sodium. The World Health Organization's daly recommendation for sodium intake is 2,000 milligrams per day (or about four burgers).

The researchers weren't sure why each country had such different sodium amounts in fast-food staples, but one reason could be the U.K.'s tough stance on salt-reduction in packaged foods. Packaged foods also had varied sodium contents: Norman Campbell of the University of Calgary in Canada, one of the researchers in the study, said to Reuters that packaged foods often have just as much salt as fast foods. "Yes, salt in fast food is very high," he said. "But if you went to an expensive restaurant, the sodium levels would be very high. If you buy packaged foods, the levels would often be very high."

The World Action on Salt and Health is known for its efforts to pressure govermental regulation in salt usage, and the study makes no exceptions for fast foods. The problem isn't food producers, said Campbell, but governments who won't regulate sodium, a known factor in high blood pressure and other diseases.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


Pass the Salt (But Not That Pink Himalayan Stuff)

Humans, like many other animals, crave the taste of salt. Animals frequent salt licks, humans have traded salt for equal weights of gold, and the word “salary” comes from the Roman soldier’s allowance for purchasing salt. Salt appears in our language in idioms like “worth its salt” and “salt of the earth.” Shakespeare’s play King Lear is a variant of a folktale where a daughter tells her father she loves him as much as meat loves salt. In a murder mystery I read years ago, a character listed the four food groups as sweet, salty, sticky, and chocolate.

It’s no fair: everything that tastes good turns out to be bad for us. We love the taste of salt, but dietary guidelines tell us we should all limit our sodium intake to less than 2.3 grams (2300 mg) a day to avoid high blood pressure and death from cardiovascular disease. And those who are fifty-one, African American, or who have high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease or diabetes should limit their intake even further, to 1500 mg a day or less.

(Note: the salt molecule consists of an atom of sodium and an atom of chloride 40% of the weight is sodium, so 1500 mg of sodium equals 3750 mg of salt, roughly ¾ of a teaspoon. Over 75% of our salt is already in the food, not added from the salt shaker.)

In 2010, the American Heart Association lowered its recommendations to 1500 mg a day for everyone. We thought that was good advice, but new evidence has muddied the waters.

In the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine , three new studies about the role of salt in cardiovascular disease were published. Instead of providing clear answers, they raise more questions. In a cute NEJM QuickTake cartoon video they summarize the findings of the studies. If you’d rather spend three minutes watching cartoons than reading my explanation, feel free.


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